UK Conservatives suspend lawmaker for vaccine misinformation
LONDON (AP) — Britain’s governing Conservative Party on Wednesday suspended a lawmaker who spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and compared the inoculations to the Holocaust.
The party suspended Andrew Bridgen from the Conservative group in the House of Commons after he tweeted an article questioning the safety of vaccines and said a cardiologist had told him “this is the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Andrew Bridgen’s comments were “utterly unacceptable” and he condemned them “in the strongest possible terms.”
Conservative Chief Whip Simon Hart said Bridgen “has crossed a line, causing great offense in the process.”
“Misinformation about the vaccine causes harm and costs lives. I am therefore removing the whip from Andrew Bridgen with immediate effect, pending a formal investigation,” Hart said.
He is currently suspended from entering Parliament for five days for breaching lobbying rules. When he returns, he will sit as an independent lawmaker.
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, called the comments “highly irresponsible and wholly inappropriate.”
Bridgen represents the North West Leicestershire constituency in central England and gained a national profile in recent years as a vociferous champion of Brexit.